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Washington: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has ruled out resigning over his company’s privacy practices as he announced formation of an independent research committee in the backdrop of the elections in countries like India, Pakistan and the US, according to a media report.
Ahead of his Congressional testimonies this week to respond to questions from lawmakers who are outraged at the data breach by the social media giant, Zuckerberg arrived in the US Capital to meet with Congressmen and Senators.
In an interview to Atlantic Magazine, Zuckerberg ruled out resigning from the post.
“No, I mean – I am -I do work on philanthropy too, separately. But, these issues are very important,” he said, when asked if he has considered resigning at all.
“We have also worked on a lot of hard problems over the last 14 years in building Facebook. I mean, it started in a dorm room and now it’s this unprecedented community in scale and I am very confident that we’re going to be able to work through these issues,” he said.
Zuckerberg would testify tomorrow before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees. The next day, he would appear before another joint hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
He has, however, refused to appear before any other foreign committee so far, including that of the UK.
Facebook has acknowledged that information of as many as 87 millions of its users were compromised in the third party data breach by UK-based Cambridge Analytica, which used the information to influence the 2016 US presidential elections for the Trump Campaign.
“Well, I certainly feel very bad, and I am sorry that we did not do a better job of finding the Russian interference during the 2016 election,” Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg said he is looking for guidance everywhere to address this challenge. His company has already taken several measures to address the privacy issues.
Referring to the upcoming elections in countries across the globe, including India, Brazil, US and Pakistan, Zuckerberg announced the formation of an independent election commission for research.
Well, I think what we need to do is be more transparent about what we’re seeing and find ways to get independent and outside experts to be able to come in, and contribute ideas on how to address these issues, like things that might be problems, Zuckerberg said. And then hold us accountable for making sure we do it, he said.
Given the importance of these elections, especially 2018 with major elections in the United States, India, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Hungary coming up soon we just thought that that wasn’t enough, he said.
“That’s exactly why we are trying to create this independent election commission for research, because we think that getting this right for the elections starting in 2018, and after that, is just such an important thing,” the Facebook CEO said.
Facebook, he said has taken two steps. First, it will require the individual owners of the largest Facebook pages to verify their names by providing the company with a copy of their government IDs. It will also make them respond to a letter in the mail.
We will physically mail a code to where you say you are, and you have to be able to access that code that we mail to you in order to be able to run an ad, said Zuckerberg.
“I think that will be quite effective at preventing someone in Russia, for example, from lying and saying that they are in the United States and able to advertise in the election here,” he was quoted as saying by the report.